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Bronxville Doc Says Sleep Deserves Respect of Time

The Sleep Center at Lawrence Hospital Center wants to increase awareness of sleep disorders during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which runs through Saturday.

“Often patients don’t know they have a sleep disorder,” said Dr. Rochelle Waldman, medical director of the Sleep Center at Lawrence Hospital Center in Bronxville, N.Y. “It is the bed partner who knows.”

Waldman said many patients come to the center for an overnight sleep study because their partner has been complaining about snoring or noticing that the patient stops breathing occasionally.

“It is important to get to the root of why somebody is sleepy,” she said. “Anyone that experiences drowsiness during the day should discuss this with their doctor.”

Waldman cited the dangers of driving while sleepy and some of the causes of drowsiness. She pointed to information from the Automobile Association of America that said about one third of those surveyed said they have driven while drowsy in the past 30 days.

“There might not be a sleep disorder,” said Waldman. “It could be lifestyle.”

She described the many people who are working longer hours or multiple jobs.

“People are devoting less time to sleep because of their lives,” she said.

For others, drowsiness is because of a disorder, not lifestyle. Waldman focused on sleep apnea but also mentioned insomnia.

“Patients who aren’t getting a good night’s sleep during the night are chronically sleepy during the day as well,” she said. “One of the most disturbing correlations made in recent sleep studies is in the area of stroke risk. Studies have now proven that subjects with moderate to severe sleep apnea can have a two to three times higher risk of suffering from certain types of stroke if undiagnosed and untreated.”

Links to heart disease and diabetes are also quite strong, said Waldman.  These are just some of the reasons she thinks those concerned about why they are not getting a good night’s rest should consider a nocturnal study at the center.

“Both testing and treatment are covered by insurance,” she said.

Board certified in sleep medicine, Waldman has been with the center since it opened in 2010. She, her husband and three children live in Scarsdale.

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